I like simulation type games like Tropico or Caesar games. I can spend numerous hours planning road layouts and ratios between amounts of different buildings. They have a great build-in sense of progression, as your town grows from a little settlement with few houses to a big and busy city. And anyone who is a fan of the genre, probably has tried playing on of the Simcity games. I think I have played Simcity 2000 at one point, but several years ago I tried the fourth game in the series. So, while I get my broken RAM replaced and not able to play any of recently released games (Oh Skyrim, how I crave you), I decided to revisit this 2003 game.
Well, couple of cities and some time spent on browsing the internet for helpful tips, I don't think I like it very much. Well, let me be more clear. I like it for the first couple of hours of every new city. It is fine, when you lay out your first zones and start to bring services to people. On a side note: The game teaches you fast, that things like healthcare and education are a luxury more than a necessity. After a while, you start making money, doing some more zoning and slowly changing your low-density zones to better ones. You see your city grow, feel good about it. The pollution levels are fine, people are healthy, safe and well educated. And all seems well, until you hit and invisible wall and start to loose money. At first I didn't really understand why. I did everything as I did before, using some of the things I have learned from my previous failed attempts to build a metropolis. And after watching video tutorials on YouTube I understood, that, without a network of other cities connected to yours, it will grow only to a specific point.
And this is where I go from liking this game, to not so much liking this game. I don't wan't to manage other cities, just to make my main city grow. I don't want to have areas called "FarmVille" with nothing more than one power-plant and lots of agriculture zones. I like these games, when I can build a fully self-sufficient city, and not worry about making several dummy-towns. Other games, like Anno or The Settlers, allow you to trade to make money and get rid of excess goods. Since you don't make anything specific is Simcity 4, the only one quantity that can be managed in a similar way are the people. And I get why such a region network system is in place, but I don't really find it fun.
Maybe it just has not clicked with me yet, so I will probably give it another go or two. But as of right now, I think it holds back a game, that otherwise is a great city building game. I think it would be better, if you just had virtual neighbors, instead of making them on your own.